Damage prediction, with red as the most severe, if there was a magnitude 7.0 quake along California’s Hayward Fault. (USGS map)

USGS Maps Out ‘HayWired’ Earthquake Scenario So Agencies Can ‘Outsmart Disaster’

The USGS, along with approximately 60 partners, released a new fact sheet that summarizes a report from a larger study of what could happen during a major earthquake in the San Francisco Bay area along the Hayward Fault – arguably one of the most urbanized and interconnected areas in the nation. This study is called “The HayWired Earthquake Scenario.”

“The USGS and its partners have worked together to anticipate the impacts of a hypothetical M7.0 earthquake on the Hayward Fault, before it happens, so that people can use the latest science in their efforts to become even better prepared,” said Ken Hudnut, USGS science advisor for risk reduction and one of the lead authors of the HayWired Earthquake Scenario report.

The newly released USGS Fact Sheet, “The HayWired Earthquake Scenario – We Can Outsmart Disaster,” provides a concise overview of what will be a multi-volume report. The fact sheet distills key points of the report and provides the first glimpse of a truly groundbreaking study into earthquake hazard impacts, mitigation efforts, and resiliency actions for communities in and around the San Francisco Bay Area.

To address an earthquake of this size, in this region, and to address all the integrated aspects of modern life that would be affected– from internet access to water supplies – the USGS garnered an unprecedented level of cooperation across the spectrum of community stakeholders. Although more work needs to be done, this type of community engagement in the San Francisco Bay Area has already resulted in more resilience to earthquake damage than in the recent past. In fact, after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, approximately $50 billion in infrastructure improvements and other investments were made to reduce earthquake vulnerability across the region.

The USGS partnered with numerous organizations to form the “HayWired Coalition,” whose members’ goal is to identify the scenario’s potential impacts on their constituents and to align the scenario with the resiliency, response, and recovery planning of their respective communities. The coalition began forming in mid-2016 to gather input and organize the interactions of a broad range of stakeholders – from utility companies to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to the Red Cross to design and engineering firms.  This process enhanced the scenario development team by helping to identify previously unrecognized vulnerabilities of communities, lifeline infrastructure, and supply chains.

As the HayWired Earthquake Scenario team examined the possible effects on every aspect of daily life, it was important to understand what people would need to get their lives back to normal. The USGS worked closely with the state of California to ramp up a public-engagement campaign that would use the scenario as a catalyst to make communities aware of earthquake risk, to help them understand what they can do to mitigate the impact of an earthquake, and how to bounce back once the shaking stops. The campaign is called “Outsmart Disaster,” and is led by the Seismic Safety Commission, which falls under the BCSH. Additionally, the USGS worked closely with the California Geological Survey and the California Office of Emergency Services to obtain a comprehensive view of the region’s current level of preparedness and its potential for improved resiliency.

Read more at USGS

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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